Will clear Afzal Guru’s file in one day if elected: V.K. Malhotra (Interview)

October 27th, 2008 - 2:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyNew Delhi, Oct 27 (IANS) V.K. Malhotra, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) chief ministerial candidate in Delhi, says he will clear the hanging of Mohammed Afzal - India’s most controversial convict - “in one day” if he comes to power in the state.”The file (on Afzal) has been lying with the Delhi government. After becoming chief minister, I will clear the file in one day,” Malhotra, 77, told IANS in an interview at his residence at 6, Dr. Bishamber Das Marg ahead of assembly polls here next month.

Mohammad Afzal, also known as Afzal Guru, has been on death row for the last three years. He was convicted for the Dec 13, 2001, attack on the Indian parliament. The file pertaining to his hanging has been lying with the Delhi government for more than a year now.

After the Delhi government’s clearance, the file will go to the home ministry, which will then send it to President Pratibha Patil. The BJP has repeatedly accused the Congress, which is in power in Delhi and at the centre, of playing appeasement politics and not taking a decision on the death sentence of Afzal.

Malhotra said besides clearing Afzal’s file, he had other priorities too.

“There are other priorities also such as work on unauthorised colonies. My main goals would be to improve the condition of water, electricity, traffic, environment, beautification of the Yamuna,” said the five-time MP and deputy leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha.

“I will also focus on tackling terrorism and price rise. Besides, special emphasis would be given to the 2010 Commonwealth Games preparations,” he added.

Polls to the 70-member Delhi assembly will be held Nov 29.

Clearly, Mohammad Afzal continues to be on the agenda of the BJP as the polls approach. He is currently lodged in Tihar prison’s Jail No 3. Afzal was convicted by the Supreme Court in 2004, which was subsequently upheld a year later. He had filed a mercy petition in 2006.

Earlier this year, Afzal had said in an interview with IANS that he was fed up of waiting endlessly for the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government to take a decision on his mercy petition.

Afzal said that if BJP leader L.K. Advani became prime minister there were chances that he would take a decision and hang him.

The Prime Minister’s Office had only recently sought details of all pending mercy petitions, including that of Afzal, from the home ministry which is waiting for the comments of the Delhi government.

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